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Murdoch, Iris

  1. Bradford Cokelet

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee734

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Cokelet, B. 2013. Murdoch, Iris. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


This essay provides a broad overview of Dame Iris Murdoch's work in moral philosophy. Although Murdoch is best known as a novelist, the focus here will be on her philosophic work. Throughout her life, Murdoch (1919–99) characterized herself as a Platonic realist and attacked other approaches to moral philosophy for obscuring our understanding of what she calls “the moral life” – roughly, our attempts to understand, evaluate, and improve ourselves and our lives together. While most philosophers are skeptical about her positive views, many also believe we can enrich our moral theories by engaging with her work and attending to the aspects of ordinary moral life it highlights.


  • ethics;
  • feminist philosophy;
  • metaethics